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An investigative study of the perceptions of nationally certified massage practitioners toward entry level web based massage therapy curriculum designs

, Argosy University/Chicago, United States

Argosy University/Chicago . Awarded


This descriptive study examines the current status of online education in massage therapy with respect to the development of web based curriculums. Participants are drawn from the public listing of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). The Online Curriculum Survey in Massage Therapy is used as an instrument to gather data about web based education from nationally certified massage practitioners. The survey captures the perceptions of participating practitioners about the adoption of online courses. Design concepts address curriculum content which consists of the most current entry level course grouping subsets in massage education: (a) massage practice, (b) massage theory, (c) allied health, and (d) business, law and ethics. The instrument is developed from entry level content requirements in massage therapy and knowledge with education technology. The content reflects on the curricular specifications identified by the NCBTMB for the eligibility of a graduating massage student to sit for a national certification exam. One traditional, one online and two blended models are evaluated for their fit in massage education. Courses are concurrently rated individually to further assess the favorability of practitioners toward web based curriculums. Survey results reveal that the most hands-on courses are not favored for online implementation. Practitioners prefer that massage theory courses are left out from the online curriculum planning process, if there is a choice between having them included and not having them included with blended curriculums. Theory courses such as medical law, ethics and business practice are rated as the most fitting for online implementation. The results indicate that familiarizing constituents with web based components in massage therapy may have a positive effect on their perceptions toward online learning. Favorability toward web based education may further be affected by whether or not a constituent attained his or her prior online learning experience within a particular field of study. Both issues can be researched further in studies that look at the psychology behind attitudinal trends in participant course selections affecting progress with online education. During this study, massage schools were, by and large, not making use of online learning platforms. Reassessing the perceptions of practitioners will make good research sense once massage schools experiment with web based tools. In the meantime, education technologists can provide valuable input about the introduction of web based education in massage therapy in order to complement the perceptions of nationally certified massage practitioners. Forming an expert group whose viewpoints are worthy of consideration, education technologists can evaluate the feasibility of implementing not only web based entry level massage therapy curriculums but also online instructional tools with entry level massage courses.

Index words. Curriculum, Curriculum Design, Education Technology, Massage Therapy, Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Massage Education, Web Based Education, Online Learning, Kinesthetic Curriculums, Hands-on Courses, Blended Courses, Perceptions, National Certification, Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork, Massage Practitioner, Massage Therapist, NCBTMB, NCETM, NCETMB, NESL, NCTM, NCTMB, Curriculum Development, Curriculum Model, Massage Curriculum, Massage Instruction, Online Curriculum Survey in Massage Therapy, Massage Survey, Entry Level Massage Courses, Massage Foundations Courses


Vlahos, E. An investigative study of the perceptions of nationally certified massage practitioners toward entry level web based massage therapy curriculum designs. Ph.D. thesis, Argosy University/Chicago. Retrieved October 24, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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